Ageism in Hollywood tends to affect more female stars than male stars and Kathy Griffin has an issue with being told to retire from the business because of her age.
The comedian said she’s sick and tired of hearing that the networks need to target “younger eyeballs,” in a recent interview with Deadline.
The 55-year-old has been hearing ageist comments her entire professional career. “I’ve been hearing it since I was 30, from managers, agents, studio heads and network executives. I’m sure I heard it in the last year,” the two-time Emmy winner said.
The actress added: “They really think nothing of saying to me, ‘You’re really funny, but they’ve decided to go younger.’ It’s so common for a woman to hear that. I don’t think anyone ever told them you’re not supposed to say that. They think it’s still a legitimate reason for someone not to get a job.”
Griffin believes that Hollywood is totally out of touch with who their audience is and thinks they should take their cues from people she recently met on her 80-city comedy tour.
“I’m seeing the real America, and real women, and they’re all ages, and they don’t look like what’s being represented on television,” she told Deadline. “There’s really very little representation of people who look like me or sound like me on television. I want to see people I can relate to.”
Griffin said that she takes meetings and has to explain that she has no intention of retiring.
“They say, ‘What do you want to do now? You’ve kind of done everything.’ But you’d never say to Will Ferrell, ‘Do you really want to do another movie or host another awards show?’ It’s odd to me when people say, ‘You should just enjoy your life.’ I’m looking to work more than ever.”
She added that primetime network television is a desert for female actors of a certain age. “There seems to be a quota for women my age… Often the networks have maybe one woman who’s my age. I’m getting the feeling that if they have one woman who’s 55, they say, ‘OK, we’re done.’”
Griffin, shocked that late night television is exclusively male, shared: “The guys have it locked up. I guess I’m going to be a guest forever.”
Countless celebrities, including Meryl Streep, Kim Cattrall and Julianne Moore, have called out Hollywood for not telling the stories of older women and focusing on projects they think will generate the most revenue.
Sex and the City veteran Kim Cattrall said she was no longer being offered saucy roles similar to her former character Samantha Jones.
“At 35, it seems women reach their ‘expiration date’ in Hollywood,” the 59-year-old actress revealed in an interview with ABC in January.